Distinguished Citizens of Allegany County
Excerpts from History of Allegany County
by Williams and Thomas (1923)

John Calvin Grahme

JOHN CALVIN GRAHAME, of Mount Savage, is a trusted employee of the Mount Savage Fire Brick Company, and also owner of a grocery and confectionery business in the town, where he is a highly respected citizen and well known in his various associations. Born February 26, 1876, at Frostburg, Allegany county, Maryland, Mr. Grahame is a son of the late Dr. Thomas Jennings Grahame and member of an old Maryland family, being a great-great-grandson in the paternal line of Gov. Thomas Johnson, the first governor of the state, and also related to the Johnson family on his mother's side.

Dr. Thomas Jennings Grahame was for many years a leading physician and surgeon at Frostburg, where he settled when a young man. He was a native of Frederick county, Maryland, and practiced successfully at Frostburg until his death in 1891. He was a Democrat in political opinion, and his religious connection was with the Episcopal Church. To his marriage with Annie Duke were born seven children, namely: Charles Eugene, a draftsman, now living in. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Annie Elizabeth, also in Pittsburgh; Carrie Rebecca, wife of William Hughs, of Pittsburgh; Richard Johnson, living in Cumberland, Maryland; John Calvin; Thomas Jennings, of Pittsburgh; and Edward Campbell, residing in San Francisco, California.

John Calvin Grahame grew up in Frostburg, where he acquired his education in the public schools. He was fifteen years old at the time of his father's death, when he came to Mount Savage and took employment with the Mount Savage Fire Brick Company, which is owned and operated by the Union Mining Company, and with which concern he has ever since been associated. After a year he was made timekeeper, and for the last fourteen years has been clerk and foreman in the yards. He is an ambitious worker, and in addition to his responsibilities already mentioned conducts a grocery and confectionery store in Mount Savage, established in 1911, now doing a thriving trade. Mr. Grahame has prospered by close attention to his affairs and steady habits, and he has the esteem of all who know him for his sterling character and genuine worth. He is a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Mount Savage. Politically he is a Republican in principle, and a loyal supporter of the party, though not active in public affairs.

On October 14, 1896, Mr. Grahame married Miss Margaret Cecilia Malloy, daughter of George Malloy, of. Mount Savage, and they are the parents of eight children. namely: Mary Joseph, Anna Bernardina, George Thomas, Walter Aloysius, Rockwell M., Margaret Cecilia, Catherine R. and Dorothy Clara.



Francis McNamee

Francis McNamee, general foreman in the shops of the Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Mount Savage, Allegany county, Maryland, has the rather remarkable record of having been continuously employed in those shops from the time of their removal to the present stone building in 1866. He is said to have lost less time from his work in the last fifty years than any other man in the county, and in the light of both these statements, the fact that he is one of the most respected citizens of Mount Savage needs no explanation.

Mr. McNamee was born May 1, 1843, at Lilly, Cambria county, Pennsylvania, son of Patrick and Hannah (Murphy) McNamee, both of whom are now deceased. They came to this country from Ireland nearly one hundred years ago, and lived many years in Allegany county, Maryland, Patrick McNamee being a long-time employee of the Union Mining Company in its brick plant at Mount Savage following his trade of brick burner. He was an industrious, hard-working man, a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church at Mount Savage, and stood well with his neighbors on the merits of him upright character and good habits. Politically he was a Democrat. Of his six children, Bridget (wife of Dennis Mullaney), James, Patrick, John, Charles and Francis, the last named is now the only survivor.

Francis McNamee was the youngest child of his parents, and quite young when the family settled at Mount Savage, Allegany County, where he was reared and educated. He had the average advantages of the old-fashioned schools, and when seventeen years old found employment at brick making with the Union Mining Company at Mount Savage, remaining there until he went out to California in 1863. At Marysville, that State, he learned the trade of machinist, and upon his return to Maryland in the fall of 1865 began work as such in the old shops of the Cumberland & Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Mount Savage. The new stone shop building was erected in 1866, and there he has been engaged ever since. After proving his capacity in twelve years of satisfactory work as a machinist, he was made general foreman, of which position he has been the incumbent nearly forty years, throughout which time he has been in charge of a force ranging anywhere from one hundred to two hundred men, as conditions required. Cars, engines and everything else coming under the head of railroad, rolling stock are manufactured in these shops, and their efficient operation plays an important part in the smoothness of the schedule, hence it is vital that the man at the head should be a dependable executive as well as a competent mechanic, and Mr. McNamee has never been found wanting in either respect. He has advanced to his responsible position by hard work and conscientious devotion to his duties, for which he is eminently well qualified, having improved every opportunity to develop. The skill acquired in his early training, and to augment the varied knowledge necessary to dispatch his obligations intelligently. He has always been esteemed for his high moral standards and moderation in all things. Though a staunch Democrat, and interested in politics, he has never cared to mix in public affairs. He has been a consistent member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church at Mount Savage for over sixty-five years.

In 1868 Mr. McNamee married Miss Mary Monaghan, of Mount Savage, daughter of Anthony and Bridget (Hanaban) Monaghan and a member of an old family of this place. Six children have been born to them: Charles P., now general foreman in the machine shops of the Cumberland & Pennsylvania road at Mount Savage, married Alice Malloy and has four children, Coletia, Edward, Thomas and Mildred; Rose B. is the widow of John P. McMullen, of Cumberland, Maryland; Anna Mary is the widow of Daniel F. McMullin, of Cumberland; Alice Regina is the wife of Joseph P. Noonan, Mt. Savage, and has one child Rosemary; Catherine L. lives at home; Francis J. is engaged as rate clerk in B. & O. Office, Cumberland.

Chief Master Sergeant Donald L. Wrigh


October 27, 1995

At last, a painful chapter is closing in the lives of scattered relatives and friends of Chief Master Sergeant Donald L. Wright, a US airman from Allegany County who was killed in the Vietnam War 26 years ago.

Sergeant Wright's remains have been identified, and he is scheduled to be buried next month at Arlington National Cemetery, about 40 years after he left this old coal-mining town in the rugged mountains of Western Maryland for a military career. "It more or less finalizes it all, I guess," said his widow, Delores Wright, 61, during a telephone interview from her home in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the home of Fort Bragg. "All the memories are still there. But at least we know he'll have a final resting place. He'll finally be home." Mrs. Wright said she has been told that she would be receiving a pistol known to be her husband's that was found with his remains. "He only had 1 week to go and he would have been off that mission," she recalled. "He didn't want to go back [to the war]. He had a funny feeling about it. "I tried to encourage him. `Just think, 1 more week and you'll be home.' I guess you could say he had a premonition about his death."

Sergeant Wright was one of eight airmen in a C-130A transport plane hit by a 37 mm anti-aircraft artillery shell during a forward air control mission over Ban Salou, Laos, on November 24, 1969. The plane blew up shortly before crashing, the Pentagon said. American rescuers searched 30 minutes for survivors, but found none.

The remains of the men were recovered in October and November 1993 by a joint US-Laotian search team. But their identities were not released by the Pentagon until this week. Sergeant Wright had been listed officially as dead two decades ago. "I'll be glad when it's all finally settled and he's in a resting place," said his brother, Richard Wright, who retired from the Air Force and now lives in Smyrna, Tennessee. "It's been tragic. It was tragic when it happened. It's been tragic for his widow, who had to raise two sons without a father. It was very difficult for her." Mr. Wright said he, Donald and their brother Arthur, who lives in Elkton but could not be reached, joined the military after attending Mount Savage High School, in part, because their native Allegany County offered few job opportunities in the 1950s. But that era was not so long ago that folks here today, such as James Hotchkiss, a retired CSX railroad control-tower operator, can't remember seeing a tall, dark-haired Donald Wright in his uniform. "He was very neat, very stately," Mr. Hotchkiss said. "He was a nice guy. There wasn't a mean bone in his body."

Word of Sergeant Wright's confirmed identity came just as veterans and Lions Clubs members in Mount Savage were planning to dedicate a monument honoring all war veterans from the town. The names of the 29 men "who made the supreme sacrifice" will be inscribed on plaques. Sergeant Wright is one of three from Mount Savage who died during the Vietnam War. "Gee whiz, we're just doing last-minute cleanup on the monument and his name pops up," Mr. Hotchkiss said. "We were all talking about it at the post last night. There were two Wright families in town. We were wondering whether his family was still around." Enough years have passed that Mr. Hotchkiss and others have lost track of Sergeant Wright's widow, the couple's two sons, Donald and Mark, and other family members. Sergeant Wright's parents, James and Christina, are deceased, his mother dying just last year. They are buried at the Methodist cemetery in Mount Savage. "It ate at his mother's little heart, all those years of not knowing where her son's remains were," said Cora Carter, who owns the Varsity Pub in Mount Savage and went to high school with Sergeant Wright. "I just couldn't believe it when I heard the news - after all this time, it's great to know one way or another where he is."

Sergeant Wright joined the US Marine Corps out of high school in the mid-1950s and later switched to the USAF. He married Delores, who grew up near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1958 in Columbus, Ohio. The couple lived in Columbus, Guam and North Carolina before Sergeant Wright was stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam War. Mrs. Wright has not married again. Her sons joined the military despite her objections, she said. Donald, 36, is an Air Force Lieutenant and lives in Japan. Mark, 33, is a Marine Corps Warrant Officer stationed in Quantico, Virginia.

Now headed home, the remains of Sergeant Wright, the seven men killed with him and of 3 others killed in an unrelated incident were returned Wednesday to Travis Air Force Base, 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, from Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. Mrs. Wright said she plans to attend the November 28 services for her husband at Arlington National Cemetery with friends and family. "This is the second time we're going through this," she said. "They had a memorial service for him in 1975 after they changed his status from missing in action to dead. I knew in my heart he was dead. It more or less seemed impossible that anyone would have survived. But you always hope for that little miracle."

November 28, 1995

Twenty-six years and four days after their plane crashed in the Vietnam War, eight airmen were laid to rest Tuesday beside an oak tree in Arlington National Cemetery. 

The men were buried with full military honors. A single, flag-covered casket holding their remains was pulled slowly on a caisson by six white horses. It was followed by members of the United States Air Force Honor Guard, marching somberly, and a procession of family and friends in three buses. 

The men were the crew of a AC-130 gunship that was hit by artillery fire and went down in flames in a mountainous region near Saravane, Laos on November 24, 1969. Their remains were not recovered until an excavation of the crash site in October 1993, said Beverly Baker, a Department of Defense spokeswoman. The remains then went through a lengthy identification process, she said. Myrtle Brown Waters lost her brother, Captain Earl Brown of Stanley, North Carolina, in the crash. The ceremony helped put bad memories behind her, she said. "It was something that I thought I had reckoned with," said Waters of Lynwood, California. "And I suppose I look at it as bringing closure to some very painful years that the family has gone through." 

The other men and their homes of record were: Major Michael Balamoti, Glen Falls, New York; Chief Master Sergeant Rexford DeWispelaere, Penfield, New York; Chief Master Sergeant Charles Fellenz, Marshfield, Wisconsin; Lieutenant Colonel Richard Ganley, Keene, New Hampshire; Chief Master Sergeant Larry Grewell, Tacoma, Washington; Major Peter Matthes, Toledo, Ohio; and Chief Master Sergeant Donald Wright, Mount Savage, Maryland.  

As six honor guards carried the casket toward a stand by the burial site, an AC-130 flew over. The Air Force band played "America the Beautiful." A eulogy was followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps."

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